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The recent gang rape and death of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi has sparked a search for technological innovations that can be used by women to alert authorities of a threat to their safety.

Nasscom, the National Association of Software and Service Companies, has announced a contest to develop such applications, saying it aims to get companies to focus on areas such as safety for women.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal – India Realtime, the Nasscom contest, which is open to software developers, corporates and students, will shortlist the winning applications. These will then be shown to Nasscom members, who may choose to adopt the applications.

Vikram Talwar, chairman of Nasscom’s forum for business processes outsourcing companies, said that some similar tools are already available.

“But this contest will primarily be done within the industry to focus on this issue of women’s safety, people will be recognised for it, there will be a jury that will look at it. And hopefully we can then share these apps with other parts of the economy,” Mr. Talwar said at a Nasscom press conference.

In early January, India’s Mahindra group responded to the rape case by making a phone security software application free for all. The FightBack application, developed by a Mahindra group company – CanvasM Technologies Ltd. – features a panic button which sends the user’s location as well as pre-set messages to previously selected contacts.

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